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Does Culture Matter For Prosperity?

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When you look at things from a western perspective you make western assumptions. Things like "Everyone wants freedom", "Everyone despises corruption" and "Everyone wants stability". This is simply wrong-headed and is a product of being brought up in a western culture where freedom and stability are good and corruption is bad.

Many in this world do not have this belief though. Whole societies have corruption and other things ingrained into them and even after having revolts and changes in leaders or forms of government, their core cultural systems still remain ingrained in the new system. Even some brought up in western cultures find things like corruption to be fun and profitable. Jake over at the Freedom Folks analyzes culture when referring to an article that shows that many of the affluent are abandoning Latin-America for the Miami area.

How a nation is is a reflection of the character of it’s people, that simple, full stop. everything else is excuses after the fact. What Latin American countries need is a revolution followed by good governance and less corruption, but that won’t happen will it? We all know it won’t? Yet we act as if the issue here were one of education or some other explanation other than the one staring us in the face, culture.

And that's where we run into issues with people coming here who have succeeded in their country's culture and then move here into enclaves of people also of their culture. They bring their "culture of corruption" (hah, I bet the Dems never thought that their little catchphrase would be used to point out real cultural corruption) with them and continue doing business the way it was in their country. They don't assimilate, they pay people off and some go as far as continuing the longstanding tradition of kidnap for ransom and extortion that occurs in Latin-America and elsewhere.

We should be proud of our culture and realize that other countries have cultures different than ours. We should not have some weird guilt that our country has succeeded due to the cultural attitude of the people who live here. And we should also stop thinking that duplicating what we have here in America will work everywhere else irregardless of their peoples culture. As Jake points out:

This is all about culture, some are simply more capable of self governance, some aren’t. You would literally have to be blind or crazy to think otherwise, yet some do think exactly that...

Go read his full piece on culture where he points out that America has managed to survive a revolution and a civil war and come out unified and stable where other countries can't seem to get their act together.

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Posted by Digger on November 16, 2007 03:53 AM (Permalink)

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This article states premises of culturism very well. Culture is important.

Even what look like culturally neutral bureaucracies rely on cultural underpinnings. Schools, for example, have very little punishment in them these days. This can work with students who are motivated by purely positive appeals to go to college. Lisa Delpit's work has shown that African American students do not respect authority that is soft.

Welfare is very cultural. The welfare programs were set up with the idea that people would be ashamed to take it and revert to working ASAP. Widespread social benefits can only be sustainable if that is the attitude. When benefits are taken without concern for the public good or shame the system goes bankrupt.

Excellent work Digger!!!

Posted by: John Press on November 21, 2007 07:34 AM

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